Bruins’ Best Option To Replace Steven Kampfer Seems Fairly Obvious

Jarred Tinordi should be the man for the job


Jul 7, 2021

Steven Kampfer is off to the KHL, and so departs one of the Boston Bruins’ steadiest depth defensemen of the last few years.

In his second stint with Boston, Kampfer the last three seasons yo-yoed between being a healthy scratch, playing in the AHL and also logging meaningful NHL minutes. He was an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and while it was possible there would be mutual interest in another reunion, from a playing time — and likely financial — standpoint, it made sense for Kampfer to go to Russia, where he can be a more impactful player.

But his role is an important one, and it’s one he filled well. It’s not easy getting scratched indefinitely, only to have to jump right into an NHL game at the drop of a hat and play 15-plus minutes. But he always played with control, whether in the regular season or playoffs, providing steady enough defense with sharp puck-moving ability and a missile of a shot when he used it.

So, his departure leaves the Bruins with a vacancy to fill, and the best option seems obvious: Jarred Tinordi.

Claimed off waivers from the Nashville Predators this season when Boston’s defense was decimated by injuries, Tinordi ended up getting thrust into significant ice time right away. When Boston got healthier, he saw his role diminish, often getting scratched.

But when called upon, he was composed. His offensive game is limited, but he was sound in his own end, kept things simple with the puck on his stick and served as a nice stopgap. It also helps that he is a massive human being (6-foot-6, 205 pounds) and willing to fight when necessary. That skill set is pretty much all you can ask for from that spare defenseman. Furthermore, he has that experience of going from hardly playing for long stretches to getting thrown into the lineup, so the Bruins know that he can be useful in that role.

It’s unclear what the Bruins’ plan is on defense next season. Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo all should be back. Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril and Connor Clifton probably will be around too, provided none of them get selected by Seattle in the expansion draft (which is definitely possible). If Kevan Miller decides he wants to keep playing, his preference probably would be to stay in Boston, and the Bruins should have John Moore healthy in time for next season. Mike Reilly, another UFA, seems like a strong candidate to return. Then there are the prospects vying for roster spots like Urho Vaakanainen and Jack Ahcan.

Point being, there’s a lot of names floating around on the Bruins defense, but uncertainty is attached to most of them.

Tinordi also is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and it’s unlikely he’d get much more than the veteran minimum — he’ll probably be somewhere between $800,000 and $1 million per season. That’s a manageable cap figure for someone that gives you peace of mind when the backend depth begins thinning out, something that seems to happen to the Bruins each season.

Re-signing Tinordi isn’t the kind of move that’s going to garner much fanfare, but it’s one of those peripheral transactions that every general manager has to take care of. And with Kampfer now officially out of the picture, holding onto Tinordi for at least another year makes a whole lot of sense.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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